By Mark Jenkins
Among the perplexities of our age is that art is becoming less durable and kitsch more so. Artists intentionally work with stuff that won’t last — plants, ice, light, cardboard — while computer memory allows snapshots and cute-animal videos to endure (theoretically, at least) forever. Italian architect Andrea Ponsi’s sketches, on display in “Face It!” at Cross MacKenzie Gallery, combine aspects of the eternal and the disposable: They’re rendered with neoclassical technique on Post-it notes.
The gallery is papered with about 2,000 Ponsi drawings, each of a face the architect says is imaginary. Nearly all are on small squares of yellow paper, some in a brighter shade. (These are an off-brand.) Most are in a single color, usually black or red, but some are in multiple hues. About 70 of the drawings are on larger sheets. The bigger ones are in charcoal; the smaller ones also employ pencil, ink and occasionally paint.
Ponsi may not portray actual people, but that doesn’t mean there are no sources for his pictures. The architect grew up in Tuscany and attended college in museum-rich Florence, where he’s based. The stylistically diverse sketches range from realistic to playful and indicate a familiarity with both Old Masters and the New Yorker.
Lined up neatly together, the drawings also suggest Warhol and other modernists who embraced mechanical reproduction. It’s only the format of Ponsi’s sketches, however, that’s repeated. Every visage is different, which makes “Face It!” a small act of rebellion against mass-produced culture.
Read more here.